Chapter 2, in which a wedding is consumated to the great joy of almost nobody.
~Alexander Pope, The Wife of Bath, 1713
His body was cool and strong as he held her, kissing her throat, her jaw, caressing her flesh with his mouth, with his hands laced in her hair. Buffy gasped as Spike nibbled her neck, arching against him. There was no doubt in her mind. None. This was Spike, and he was everything she wanted. “I love you, slayer,” he whispered in the semi-darkness. “I love you so much.”
He tasted like perfection, wine and cigarettes on his tongue as it caressed her own, as his blunt teeth nibbled on her lips, as his cool breath entered her body. His smooth pale skin beneath her hot hands, the thunder of his tiny groans, purring through his chest, trembling through his body into hers. She clutched at him, humming her certainty and her contentment. “I love you, Spike. Oh, god, don’t stop.”
He was slow and deliberate, every movement unhurried, thoughtful, calculated for her ease and pleasure. She’d only done this twice before. The first time had been desperate and terrified, the undercurrent of This is wrong! pulsing through every movement as Angel had taken... let her take... what they wanted, and knew they shouldn’t. Her body, not even reached its full height, yielding to his cool flesh, too unsure of herself to even explore him properly. He’d known what he was doing. She hadn’t. He had treated her as if he would break her, and claimed her as his, directed her as the excitement of what they were doing had threatened to take over, and she’d clutched at him, afraid to lose control. She’d felt helpless beneath his love for her, her own terrible love. The second time was steeped in lies, as Parker had played a deceitful game, and knew he was playing it, using her for his pleasure... as much, she had to admit, as she had been using him to feel normal. That had been sweltering, very human, and had left her discontent in ways she hadn’t been able to pinpoint until a full thirty hours later, when Parker’s lies were brought into the harsh light of day.
But Spike was a vampire. He was not a weak and hot-blooded human being, reeking of human sweat. He wasn’t indulging in a forbidden passion. This was perfect. It wasn’t simply normal. And it wasn’t hurried. And it wasn’t wrong. It was right, it was so right, everything was right.
The cottage was cool and lightly scented. The ocean breeze blew in through the open windows, the sound of the surf pounding across the sand, echoing the surging of her own heart. Spike had lit dozens of candles, saying he always preferred candlelight. He had always wanted to see her in candlelight.... His hand had slid down her arm (no hesitation) had pulled her against him (no doubt) had embraced her in perfect tenderness (no uncertainty). It was so different from her every moment with Angel, where doubt and uncertainty and hesitation had been the cornerstones of their relationship. Along with heartache. Perpetual heartache and pain.
There was no pain here. There was nothing but Spike, and Buffy, and the truth of their love, the perfection in their touch, the faith in their union. He’d carried her across the threshold, prepared their love nest, and taken her to bed with complete devotion in his eyes.
For the first time in her life, Buffy knew, beyond all question; what they were doing was right.
Spike was more sharing than Angel, letting her take control if she wanted it. She didn’t even have to ask – just the slightest flex of her muscles, allowing her movements to guide him, as if they were dancing, and he’d let her take the lead. He was more generous than Parker, holding his own pleasure back until she was flushed and gasping and trembling with delight in her own strong body. He was more inventive than either of them, changing methods and positions, whispering in the darkness about her beauty, her strength, their love, his devotion, using his whispered words to make love to her as much as his body.
And just as the sea birds began to call in the pre-light of the dawn, Spike finally decided she’d found enough joy. He took her more firmly then, finally allowing himself his own release. “To feel you beneath me,” he’d whispered. “To be part of you, slayer...” He kissed her. “I’ve come home.... oh!” His breath had come harder then, his movement more urgent, until he froze with a groan, followed by a gasp, almost a sob of relief.
There was a long, long moment as it ended. The sky was only a floating teal; it would be a good twenty minutes before the rosy-fingered dawn peeked over the earth to their little love nest. And then there would be another twenty-four hours here, one day, and one more precious night, before their rented beach side cottage had to be abandoned to its next tenant. The sun was about to rise, and leave Buffy here with Spike all day, with no Giles playing chaperone, no family to make explanations to, no demon attacks to protect Xander from (they had arranged for Xander to be locked in a windowless crypt until they came back home. Any demons would probably just mill about outside, unless they were incredibly powerful or something). Just Buffy and Spike alone together.
And for the first time in a week, the thought terrified her. What the hell were they supposed to talk about? The best way to murder someone?
Still her body tingled, and his flesh felt smooth and seductive and his weight was potent and real above her, and he was her husband. He was all she’d ever wanted. They were living the dream. She’d been absolutely certain of that. Certain. For reals.
Spike was having his own troubles. He looked down at her, spent, sated, her heat surrounding him. And she looked back up at him, flushed and glowing with pleasure, her golden hair mussed, her lips so bright red they looked like blood. She was so beautiful. And what the hell was he doing?
Very suddenly Spike felt... shy. He pulled back and away from her, blinking. Buffy swallowed, and she sat up, shaken. “That was...”
Buffy looked at him. “Is that all you can say, is yeah?”
Her voice was very harsh. Some part of Spike wanted to catch her up and kiss her again. Another part wanted to tell her she was a nice enough bird, and thanks for the shag, but lighten up, Fluffy. “Yeah,” he said again. “No. I mean...” He stared at her helplessly. “What do you want me to say?”
Buffy blinked. “I want you to say it was wonderful,” she said. “I want you to say that you love me. I want you to tell me that this was the most greatest thing that’s ever happened to you!”
“Well, who says it was?”
Buffy glared. “Excuse me?”
“Well,” Spike felt very embarrassed. “I mean it was nice, but–”
Spike felt helpless. “Yeah?”
The darkness in her face was completely uncalled for. “Are you saying I wasn’t good?” she asked.
Spike felt like he was bearing the brunt of an anger that wasn’t of his making. “W-what? I-I wasn’t saying anything.”
“I’d noticed!” Buffy stood up and glared down at him. “What, finally get what you wanted, and now it’s just, thanks for the shag?”
Since that was exactly what he had been thinking, Spike felt very defensive. “Hey,” Spike said, standing up. “I’m not the one turning all Sybil, here.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Highschool nasty in her tone.
Spike gave back tone for tone. “Wacked out. Stark-staring. Gone barmy. Round the bend. So, basically, a woman.”
And Buffy hit him.
Spike was shunted backward across the candlelit room. “Hey! That’s spousal abuse, that is!”
Buffy stood over and glared at him, golden and glorious in the nude. “You’re a vampire!” she snarled. “Get used to it!”
“Hey now!” Spike stood up and glared at her. “It’s not as if I can hit you back, slayer. I think you should learn to show some restraint.”
“Restrain this!” Buffy yelled, and she tried to hit him again. Spike blocked the blow, and the following three, and finally grabbed her wrists. She tugged at his grip, her blonde hair bouncing as she yanked. “Let go of me! I can’t believe I married you. Maybe we have been under a spell!”
It was the first time either of them had believed it. Buffy had believed she had some natural immunity as the slayer. Spike hadn’t thought the witch’s magic was that powerful. “Bollocks,” Spike said. He still didn’t believe it. It felt too real. “Maybe you just don’t have what it takes to stick to it!”
Buffy ripped her arms back. “And what is that supposed to mean?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Angel – scampers off. Parker – you can still see the rubber tire tracks. Now you’ve put another notch in your belt, and maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you don’t think we’re worth your time. Maybe you’re one of those love ‘em and leave ‘em fast bints. Or just maybe Angel was right, and you’re the one not worth a second go.”
Buffy didn’t even have the respect to hit him. Her face hardened and her eyes boiled like ancient hotsprings and Spike was suddenly terrified by the rage of the chosen one, something he’d never actually seen before. Not like this. “Get out,” Buffy snarled.
He stepped away. Something instinctively vampire told him death was two inches from his heart, and he had to retreat, or expect dust. He retreated, pausing only to hitch his jeans around his hips before he left.
What the hell had he been thinking, marrying a slayer? He stalked out of the cottage in the gloaming, and back to his paint-spacked Desoto, frustrated and furious and a little frightened on top of it. There were still tin cans and old shoes tied to the bumper. He slammed the door shut and started the engine.
A box they’d forgotten about was sitting in the back seat. He caught its reflection in the rearview mirror. It held a box of wheatabix, and a now-thawed frozen pizza, and a half-gallon mason jar of blood – veal; special occasion. The blood nestled there beside the bottle of champagne he hadn’t had the patience to chill and serve to Buffy last night before they’d fallen desperately into bed together. And on the top of the cardboard box was a large tupperware bowl, inside of which – he knew – the top tier of their wedding cake waited for them to snack on during their truncated honeymoon. They had one day and two nights in this cottage. Just that small amount of time to explore each other before they had to go back to Sunnydale, and her friends, and her college, and his glorious slayer had to resume her duties, ridding the world of demons....
Spike sank his head onto the steering wheel. He was a demon. What was he doing marrying the slayer?
He was a demon castrated in his evil, starving for blood he would never again taste. No friends, no family, no one in the world who cared whether he lived or died – with some pretty heavy bias toward the dying, actually. And she’d taken him in. Supplied him with sustenance. Kept him alive. Given him purpose. Touched his heart. Taken him to her bed. “And now she says it was all a spell,” he muttered to himself. He didn’t want to admit how much that had hurt him. He lit a cigarette and put the car in gear.
But it couldn’t be a spell. That didn’t make sense. If it was a spell, why had it taken him so bloody long ago? How could a flippant “they should just get married” statement by a burgeoning red-headed witch reach back into his history and fill his dreams with Buffy, fill his thoughts with Buffy, burn resentment into Drusilla and make her abandon him, all because of Buffy? And why didn’t Buffy kill him when he’d shown up at her door, helpless? Yeah, they were the good guys, but they knew what he was. There was no good reason for them not to have closed the door in his face, if they felt squeamish about staking him outright while he was all helpless. No. She’d taken him in for a reason. All those heated kisses couldn’t have come from nothing. And god, all that flirtatious sparring? No! That kiss, that first kiss, that was pure. There was no way that had come from someone else’s impulse. He’d been too heated before it happened for it not to be real.
God, the heat of her last night. Last night. Twenty minutes ago! His own flesh was still warm with her, parts of him still tingled with her. Her scent – god, her scent! – was still all over his body.
He couldn’t leave her abandoned here. The poor chit didn’t drive, she’d have to call her mum to drive her home. God, what a horrible way to start a marriage!
Why did she think it was a spell? The idea hurt him more than her fist had.
Still. He had all the food. And his coat was in the livingroom.
And he wanted to taste her again.
All her pain over Angel hit her again like a truck, and her self-loathing over her mistake over Parker, that was just an extra sprinkling of disgust over her pain, and Spike... Spike... she’d loved him so much not even twenty minutes ago, while he moved inside her, and made her feel so alive, and so wonderful, and she’d been so damned happy.
The happiness itself was what crushed her now. She’d been happy. She hadn’t felt happy in so long. Angel made her blood sing with devotion, but he’d never made her happy. Even that week while Parker had been working on her, all she’d felt was a kind of excited nervousness, not this last week’s enthusiastic certainty and happiness in love. And Angel, god, all he’d ever been was pain. Even when she was sure, loving him had always hurt her. Every second. Knowing that she was the slayer and he was a vampire had made every moment wrong in some fundamental way. Even when it had been unshakable...
But Spike was a vampire. An evil vampire. An evil vampire with no desire to redeem himself. And she’d been okay with that yesterday, why was it suddenly bugging her now?
Buffy burst into tears. Desperate, heart-rending tears, and she sobbed into her hands. What had she done? Why hadn’t she fought this spell harder? Because it had to be a spell. There was no way she could have been that happy without a spell to help. Not with the thought of the blood of innocents that he still longed to taste....
And it had happened again. He was gone. She’d held him and kissed him and let him inside her, and as always he’d gone, and taken a part of her away with him. Angel had taken her innocence. Parker had taken her hope. Spike... Spike had just taken all of her happiness....
“You’re cute when you’re hurting.”
Buffy looked up. He was there. Spike actually was there, and he looked fond and real and anything but dismissive. He hadn’t driven away. “I always thought that,” he said. “It got in the way of wanting to kill you, sometimes.” He took a step or two into the room. “I had a chance there, when I had the ring of Amara. I had you up against that lamp post, and I wasn’t thinking of your neck, and how I could bite it. I could have then. I could have killed you in about three seconds. Instead I got distracted by how your body felt against mine.” He stood before her. “Felt almost as good as kissing you has this last week,” he confessed.
A moment later he had sunk between her knees, put his hands around her ribs, held her tightly enough that she, the slayer, could actually feel it. The strength felt so damn good. And then he kissed her.
Fire roared through her. A fire of desire so hot it was almost painful, and she cringed under it, and reached for him, swallowing the cigarette taste in his mouth, and the desperate hunger of his lips, and the welcome caress of his tongue. It was rapacious and passionate and mad. He held her closer, dragging her off the chair, pulling her body against him, and dear god, none of their other kisses had felt like this. They’d been sweet and tender and devoted, but they weren’t this. She could almost feel his bite in their kiss, as if he were devouring her, instead of sweetly enjoying her as he had been. Buffy found herself sliding to the floor, pushing herself against him, as if she needed to press him to her or die. How could anything be better than last night? But it was. It was heat and death and fire. It was wrong, how powerful it felt. It was war.
That thought made her fight, fight him, fight herself, and she pushed him away, dragging her lips back. They stopped and stared at each other over a handspan, their breath mingling between them. Awe and terror painted both of their faces. After last night, how could they suddenly feel any more? But it was as if the night before didn’t even count. Buffy trembled in his arms, and Spike gasped, his eyes searching her face. Finally he swallowed, as if he’d caught his lost words out of the air and needed to drag them back in so he could say them. “Did you really think I was leaving, slayer?” His voice shook, and he couldn’t hide it. He tried to sound nonchalant, but that wasn’t happening. Not after that kiss. “I’ve lost everything. I can’t hunt, I can’t kill, the blood’s all dried up and I’m aching inside. I don’t know how to live like this. What else have I got but you?”
“I am not the consolation gift when the first prize is murder,” Buffy snapped. But she didn’t let him go.
He looked annoyed. “I’m not saying that,” he said. “I just...” Spike took in a breath. “This can’t be just a spell. It’s too real.”
“It isn’t real,” Buffy said. “It’s madness! It came up out of nowhere!”
“Not true, slayer,” Spike said. He sat back. “Do you know why Dru broke up with me? I mean, really?”
“You said it was Angel, and that truce. Said she thought you weren’t demon enough for her.”
Spike regarded her. “She said I couldn’t get you out of my head,” he said. “And she was right. You were everywhere. Every thing I did. Everything I said, everything I heard. Everywhere I turned around, there you were.” There was a tremble in his throat. “Your eyes and your hair and your voice. I’d never met a slayer and left her alive before. It seemed wrong. The idea that you were half a world away, walking around and slaughtering vampires without me...? Wrong. I had to go back. I had to go back to Sunnydale, I had to find you. Either you had to die, or I did.”
“You didn’t seem too keen to kill me just after Dru dumped you.”
“And you’ve never tried to tell yourself someone means nothing to you?” Spike asked. They both knew that wasn’t true. “I thought I just wanted to kill you. I was desperate to kill you,” he said. He brushed her hair back. “And then... this... this thing happened to me, and I couldn’t kill anymore, and I didn’t have the excu....” His eyes shone with emotion, and he swallowed it back. “Why’d you take me in, if this is just a spell?”
“The... the commandos... you knew...”
“I knew jack, and you knew it,” Spike said.
He was right. She knew he’d known nothing. She just... he’d looked so helpless. She didn’t like the idea of him dissolving to dust in Giles’ courtyard like that. It was clear he hadn’t the strength to get back to the sewers, and he was pretty much begging them for their help. The big bad, the slayer of slayers, William the Bloody, begging for help. Willow had testified to his veracity, such as it was, about his helplessness. And he’d looked so pale and weak... and he had fought by her side before. It hadn’t seemed right to turn him out into the sun.
“You just didn’t want to see me dust. I was at the end of my tether, and you couldn’t bear to leave me there. That’s not a spell!”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t love!” Buffy said. “And look at us!” She looked down at them, their arms and legs twisted together, the power between them. “This is insane, this can’t be real! I never even felt this with Angel! It’s like being possessed!”
“Love’s like that.”
“But it can’t be love!” Buffy said. “You’re a demon, you don’t have a soul, you can’t love.”
“And you have to know that’s bollocks!”
“When Angel lost his soul, he couldn’t love anymore, that’s–”
“So? He’s always been like that! I haven’t a soul, and I love you just fine!”
“So it’s got to be a spell!”
Spike growled, full on demonic snarl. “Fine. I haven’t a soul, and I loved Dru, no trouble, for a century. And don’t you dare tell me that wasn’t real!”
“How would you know the difference?”
“You try living with a woman who literally could not tell guts from garters for over a hundred years, and tell me it’s possible to do that without loving her!” Spike snarled. “Angel couldn’t stomach it, he and Darla trotted off whenever it suited them. I was the one who dug her out of the earth whenever she decided to bury herself, ‘cause she was ‘s’posed to be dead.’” He snarled again. “And that’s not the point. The point is, I love you. Buffy. Look at me, feel me, feel this,” he said, squeezing her close against his chest. “I love you, how can you doubt it?”
“I don’t doubt it,” Buffy said. She really didn’t. “I just... I don’t think it’s real. I think we’re... doped up or something.”
“So we should fight it. We should try and break it. We shouldn’t just let this happen to us!”
Spike was so frustrated with her he wanted to hit her. And he couldn’t. And that was going to drive him batty. “Why not?”
“What do you mean, why not? It’s perverse! You’re an evil murdering vampire. I’m a vampire slayer. It’s degrading.”
“For you, or for me?” Spike asked with annoyance.
“Well... both, I’d imagine,” Buffy said.
Spike was having trouble. Her nude body still wrapped around his was causing wildly fevered physical reactions, while his annoyed mind was struggling with trying to hate her through the love, and some distant part of him still wanted to kill her when he knew he couldn’t. “Fine then.” He couldn’t hold back anymore. He lunged for her throat and bit at it, until the pain chip in his head fired – just a little – and he had to loosen his grip. There. Perfect. She groaned and writhed above him with lust, making him desperate to bite down harder, but he literally couldn’t without pain.
“What... unh! Fine?” Buffy pushed him off her throat, but didn’t get off his lap.
“What I’m saying is,” he said, panting with arousal, “I don’t think it’s a spell. I think it’s just us. But... but... even if this is a spell...” He got distracted. “God, your lips...” They were parted slightly as she breathed in and out. He wanted to taste them so bad. He wanted to be inside her more now than he had the night before. He reached for them, and Buffy pulled her head back.
He sighed, fazed, and made himself shake sense into his head. “Don’t take it away from me,” he said.
“It’s insane,” Buffy said, her breath coming hard. “You’re a vampire. I’m the slayer. And you’re freaking evil.”
“And you’re everything I stand against,” he said, his eyes half closed. “And suddenly I want you so badly I feel I’m about to burn where I sit.”
Buffy melted at the words, at the seductive look on his face, and she bent, nearly kissing him again. “Wait. Wait. No. Now we know... we should try... try to fight... it–” she lost control over it and fell back into his lips, squeezing him around the shoulders so tightly that he groaned into her mouth. “It’s not right,” she muttered, muffled by the fact she could barely leave his lips, and she found herself biting him the moment she got the words out.
“It felt right last night,” Spike breathed into her.
“It did.” She couldn’t stop kissing him.
“Don’t fight this, slayer,” he gasped, kissing her again and again. “Fight me instead. That’s what you do. You fight wrong –” he moaned into her mouth “– until you make it right.” He bit and sucked carnivorously at her lips. “I’m wrong,” he said. “A vampire who can’t kill, it’s wrong. Make it right again. I don’t care how. Make me right.” He squeezed her tightly and jammed his tongue as far into her mouth as it would go, as if he would swallow her entire, right there. “Whatever it takes, slayer,” he said when he could pull away. “Make me right.”
“But you’re evil,” she said into him. “I’m the slayer, I fight for good, I can’t just embrace the darkness like this.”
“Light doesn’t exist without the dark.”
“Light banishes the dark,” she argued, pulling away.
“Then do that!” Spike cried in desperation. Buffy pulled away and looked at him. He stared at her with longing. “Help me, or stake me, but don’t leave me like this! I don’t care if it’s a bloody spell, I want you. More than I want blood, I want you.” He seemed to realize what he’d said, and he sagged. “Oh, bloody hell.” He pulled away and let his head hang like a whipped dog.
Buffy regarded him, her heart beating fast, her breath still ragged, her lips still numb with Spike’s kisses. Even Angel hadn’t done this to her, not with this fire. Angel had been abandon and pain in love. This was just absolute wantonness, heat itself, and very, very physical. Their bodies seemed like freaking magnets.
Angel had been a killer... and when he lost his soul, he had betrayed her. There was nothing good or clean left in him. No love, no logic, no honor. Spike had come to be her ally, come to help save the world, with no chip, no soul, nothing but himself. And he was right – it was because he loved someone. He’d loved a mad vampire whose favorite meal was children, but it was because he’d loved Drusilla that he’d forged a cease-fire with a slayer. He’d wanted to protect someone, with love, and sense, and had given up the ultimate evil – the destruction of the world – for it. It had been a temporary truce, but it was possible. And the idea of fighting this fire felt like trying to battle a volcano with a fire extinguisher.... “I won’t let you off the hook,” Buffy said quietly.
Spike looked up.
“I hate evil. If you try anything evil, I’ll... I’ll slap you so hard you’d think you were married to a train!”
Spike regarded her. “But...?”
“But breaking this spell... I don’t know if it’s possible. I feel it... you feel it.... So... I guess... we work with it, yeah? This impossible marriage between light and dark... this war...”
“Marriage is always a war,” Spike said. “I spent a hundred years with Dru. Believe me. I know.”
“No,” Spike said. “That’s not how it works. You win, or you lose, together. You’re not fighting each other. You’re allies against yourselves.”
Buffy liked that idea. With Angel it had always felt like a tug-of-war, with one side or the other getting the advantage – and usually, Buffy hated to admit, that was Angel. She hadn’t the skill or the experience to fight what he wanted, whether she wanted it too, or not. She always felt like the loser. To fight with someone, instead of against them.... “I think I still hate you,” she said slowly.
Spike grinned. “I know I still hate you.” He let his eyes travel down her half-clad form. “And I love you so hard it makes my throat ache.”
“It’s just a spell...”
“So? It feels good,” Spike said. “I’m going with it.” He drew his eyes back to hers. “You going to try to fight it?”
Buffy found herself drawn back to him. Spell. God damn Willow and her cursed spell... “As allies...” she whispered.
Spike smiled briefly. “Allies.” He found her lips again, and there was no way he was letting her go.
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